Day 19 Question 19:
Why do you no longer drink?
This morning I was talking to the woman I work for (I am her nanny-she has 2 twin girls that are one). We were just talking about general things. She was asking about me not drinking and asked if I had been an alcoholic. I get asked that a lot. The answer is no. I quit drinking 15 months ago. I didn’t quit because I had a problem. I quit just to get healthy, drop weight, detox my body and challenge myself. I wanted to live a life where alcohol was never a factor in any of my decision making. My original goal was to quit for 4-5 months. Once I reached that goal I decided to just keep going. I was seeing life through different lenses. My boss looked at me and said, “You are so disciplined, that is great.” The words struck me in an unexplainable way. I knew that my life has changed drastically from doing this one small thing and I am no longer succumbing to peer pressure. I really am disciplined. If only I could be as disciplined when it comes to eating really healthy everyday-but that is a whole other subject.
The last time I have had an alcohol beverage was October 30, 2011. I planned a Halloween party with friends and I knew that night was going to be my last night of drinking for a while. I only had 2 drinks even that night. I was ready for the challenge and the change. I drink non-alcoholic beer every once in a great while just to enjoy the taste and I catch shit because people always say that has .5% alcohol in it so I didn’t really quit. I let people be sticklers if they feel the need. I know it would take me about 30 of them to get me drunk and I know I surely don’t want to drink 30 beers whether they are alcoholic or non-alcholic so in my opinion if someone asks me, I don’t drink.
Since I quit drinking, I realized how different life really can be and how differently people treat you when you don’t drink. Again, it sounds like I had a drinking problem, but that was not the case. Had I ever been hammered? Yes. Did I enjoy having drinks on occasion? Yes. Did I have control of it? I did have control of it. If I didn’t I would have never been able to quit cold turkey the way I did. There are a lot of underlying factors as to why I quit. It’s still strange and it has changed my life but I feel like it is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I now always have a clear picture and my being is never distorted or altered. People will like me or not like me and alcohol will never be a factor in their decision.
It didn’t take me long to figure out after I quit drinking who my real friends were and who my drinking buddies were. There are people in my life that know I have not drank in over a year and they still try to persuade me to drink and say things like, ‘Oh come on, one drink won’t hurt you.” Or, “You aren’t going to have a drink with on my birthday or to ring in the New Year?” I don’t understand why my not drinking affects them? I feel like it is a very positive change that I made in my life but people look at me like I am some sort of freak. It is almost as if people assume I cannot be a fun, lively person if I am not drinking. Those that really know me know that isn’t the case at all. I can be serious yes but I also know how to have a great time when I am surrounded by great company. It kind of sucks to feel like you are an outcast when you have done something that you feel could truly improve your life.
Yes this part of the not drinking sucks because it is usually a process in trying to figure out what other people’s drinking patterns are and how sincere they are about your choices. You always have to question whether or not you will be able to spend time with people outside of bars. People have slipped out of my life because I didn’t want to spend time with them. Drinking is too important to them and this was not the place my life was anymore. I don’t condone people for drinking. Trust me that would be very unfair to do. I just am very aware of how people drink and I know which kind of drinkers I can have in my life. Social drinking is fine. Binge drinking regularly is not ok. I believe there are so many things to experience in life that doesn’t involve drinking and I notice that a lot of people rely on drinking to reach some sort of comfort level. I have done that in the past. I want people in my life that want to go on adventures where drinking doesn’t need to be an option.
I have touched a little bit on my past relationships in previous blogs. I haven’t said a lot up until this point because 2 of them bring me back to pieces of my life that I just don’t like to revisit all that much if I don’t need to. I have grown immensely from these 2 past relationships and I believe it was the hardships of these relationships that have given me a strength greater than I could ever imagine but it is still not easy to think about without getting a lump in my throat and that shallow feeling in my chest. Both guys that I had significant relationships in the past were both alcoholics. As I was famous for, I ignored all red flags and warning signs and of course I believed I could change these people. There was no changing to be done. The only changes that occurred were the deepening of my own self-loathing and embarrassment for being so weak at the time. During the relationships I drank more than I should of just to keep up. I didn’t develop a problem in either case but I could see the potential if I hadn’t gotten out. That is a scary thing to think about where my life could be now. The first guy was not as bad as the second. The first guy and I should have never been together. We kind of just got together in moments of weakness and desperation. Our lives at the time were not exactly up to par and we had nothing else all that great going on so why not be together. He drank a pint of vodka everyday then it turned into a fifth. My last straw was spending the night at his house and being kicked in the bed because he was blacked out and didn’t realized I was there. He got up from the bed in his black out state, walked into his living room and pissed all over his floor. He walked back into the bedroom and face planted back onto the bed. I got out of the bed and slept on the couch. I almost left but I feared something happening to him because he was so drunk. I was so furious (with him and myself) that I scribbled out notes about how pathetic he was and how I hated dating an alcoholic and I taped them all over his walls above his bed. He got up early the next morning and woke me asking me why I was sleeping on the couch and I told him to go look at his wall. He tore down the notes and came and sat on the couch. I told him about pissing on the floor and he adamantly denied it. He said it had to have been my dog. I watched him with my own 2 eyes and he told me over and over again it did not happen. We dated for a little while longer after that and the drinking didn’t decrease. He eventually moved back to where he was from to work for his sister. I was devastated because this was my first significant relationship but time was what I needed and I saw things for what they were. I was young and naïve. I got caught up in wanting romance and wanting to be with someone and I never realized at the time that I was just babysitting a drunk. This relationship wasn’t based on anything a true relationship should be based on.
After this I stayed single for about 3+ years. I dated on and off but just hadn’t met anyone that turned into a long term relationship. I thought I had grown a lot and would no longer make the same mistakes. I could not have been more wrong. I finally met someone. He was a little younger than me, attractive, and really fun. He was also a SEVERE alcoholic and I stuck by his side for a year to take an unbelievable amount of mental and emotional abuse. Yes, it was my choice. Remember, hindsight is 20/20. This relationship changed my entire life. I still get overwhelmed with anxiety when I think about it and sometimes I can’t help but cry but I have grown into this beautiful woman because of this awful experience. When this relationship started everything was fresh and new and really fun. He was pursuing me and wanted to hang out with me all of the time. This was new territory, I was loving it. After time passed and he started being really comfortable with me that is when everything changed. He still would call me and wanted to hang but he used me for everything. He was always wanting me to buy beer or pay tabs at the bar or get him food. If I told him I was broke he would make me feel insanely guilty and somehow or another I would scrape up money. I bounced checks just to please him. Yes, this is embarrassing to admit right now but it is what it is. I put myself in serious debt (and I have no one to blame but myself) just to please this person that never did a thing to please me. He never treated me to anything or took me out. He used me. This was a person that would drink all day long. I recall being at my townhouse and we were in the bed together. He got up at about 7:30am and went downstairs. I assumed he was either using the bathroom or was getting water. He walked back in with a beer in his hand, cracked it open and started drinking. He would drink every day all day long. This went on for months and months and the longer we continued the worse everything got. One evening him and I went bowling. We had some drinks (he of course drank in excess) and I, of course, picked up the entire tab. There was this waitress that was working there that was dressed in these ridiculous leggings. We made fun of her to each other all night. After we bowled we decided to sit at the bar. This girl came up and sat on his side. She struck up a conversation and was extremely flirtatious. I went to the bathroom and when I came back they were gone. I walked out of the bowling alley to watch them pulling away together. He went home with her and fucked her…while all of his stuff was at my house. He had to come by the next day to get everything. I was an absolute mess. I drank more that night and drove home. I should have never been behind the wheel of a car in the state I was in. I put so many people at risk. He came by the next day to get his stuff because he had to go to work. The girl dropped him off. I handed him his bag out the door and he left. I called into work that day. He came over a few days later so we could talk. Of course by the time he got to my town house he was three sheets to the wind. I told him how hurt I was and how angry I was. We started getting pretty heated. He responded by saying, “You are just pissed because I don’t want to fuck your fat ass anymore.” My knees hit the ground. He struck the one chord that he knew was going to hurt the most. I crumbled in that moment. That was the breaking point. He left and that was the last time I ever saw him. He would call here and there on occasion and would yell at me about random things-most of the time I never answered. This one moment though was just a tiny tiny tiny bit of the tip of the iceberg. I was destroyed by this point and I was completely lost. I had absolutely no idea who I was anymore. This person stripped me of everything. Again, I know it was my fault for sticking around for it. This was the time when I felt the absolute lowest in my life and it has taken me several years to recover from it. I am still recovering to this day. So much self-hatred and self-doubt emerged from this “relationship”. This relationship that was based on an obscene amount of alcohol and countless drunken nights. I have never felt as alone as I did at that point in my life.
I felt completely defeated but I was lucky enough to have a support system in my life that was not going to let me completely crash. It took a lot of time but I got myself back together again after this. I did continue to drink after this, not heavily or anything but socially. I want to stop for one second and tell everyone that my point in sharing myself like this is not to convey myself as a victim of any sort. I want to just show you who I am and why I am that person. I am introducing everyone to significant pieces of my life that have impacted who I am to this very day at this very moment.
So my life has continued. Drinking has been something that has weighed heavily on my mind because of these 2 situations. I wanted to start dating and always be completely sober. Unfortunately some of the people I have dated were unable to do the same thing. I never ever want to be with someone that wants to be in an altered state during majority of the time they are with me. That is nothing but a completely fake relationship. I wanted to see what dating was like without ever drinking (me not drinking-I don’t mind if my date does as long as it is in moderation). I wanted to be able to make clear, conscious decisions. In this state I am way more in touch with how I feel. I am no longer relying on liquid courage to get me through different situations. I love no longer having to suffer through a hangover (and I was the queen of hangovers) and wasting a whole day being completely miserable or forget what I had done the night before. I never have to go back and apologize for my dumbass antics when drinking. I never have to question what I did because I drank too much. I will make mistakes throughout my life but now I never have alcohol to blame.
As I am sure you have figured out by my blogs I am can be an anxious and nervous person. Drinking would be fun in the moment but I absolutely detested the next day or 2. There were times I would feel so incredibly depressed. There were times I would sit in my bed and cry just thinking about so many things. I finally got to a point where I wanted to try to be healthy in all aspects. I have been unhappy with my body and have let that take over my mind for far too long…why add fuel to the fire? My goal is to continually become better and better and I just started to realize that drinking (yes even one) was serving no beneficial purpose for me. It has been an adjustment because people have such strange reactions when I tell them I no longer drink. I have become part of the minority and it hasn’t been a simple task to find people that want to venture out and do things that don’t involve drinking. Again, I am not criticizing people that drink. I will go to bars from time to time to hang out with friends. I have just made a decision for myself that I feel is beneficial in my life. I stepped outside of my comfort zone and was surprised at how easy it really was. Sometimes I feel like I come off like I am better than people and wiser than people when in truth I am just doing what I think is right for me. I chose to share this blog with people so they would have a better understanding of me. I have hidden a lot of who I am for a long time and I didn’t want to do that anymore. I am sometimes nervous and uncomfortable vocalizing my thoughts so I wanted to use this outlet to show people who I am, what I love, what my fears are, what my dreams are…EVERYTHING. I was thinking earlier today how great it would be to visit this blog 30 years down the road and see where was life was in comparison to where it is at that time. I wanted to start documenting my life so I could have amazing memories. My life gets busy and time flies by so fast and memories start to fade over time, the more memories that we make the more memories that we lose if we don’t document them in different ways. This is my documentation. I am now and open book for the world. :0)
P.S. Losing 65lbs in the last 2 years didn’t hurt either 😉